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We’re thrilled to announce the availability of our Air Display app on the Android platform. Air Display is available for $9.99 in Amazon’s Appstore for Android.
Click here to see Air Display in the Amazon Appstore!
Lots of App Markets
Air Display is now available all over the place:
- iOS App Store (for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch)
- Amazon’s Appstore for Android (for Android tablets)
- Mac App Store (for Mac OS X)
- Samsung’s Bada store (for Samsung WAVE smartphones)
- Intel’s AppUp store (for Windows).
Mac: Retail Edition
We also have a new “Mac: Retail” edition of Air Display that you can purchase directly from our web site. It’s just like the Mac App Store edition, but without some of the Mac App Store restrictions. Advantages of the Retail edition include:
- Try before you buy.
- Volume discount ($19.99 for 1, $14.99 for 2 or more)
- Run on older Macs (PowerMac or Intel)
- Run on older OS (Mac OS X 10.5.8 or newer)
But back to the Android version. We’re really excited to see how this goes. The conventional wisdom is that people aren’t buying Android apps. That $0.99 is too expensive for an Android app, and that for ten bucks you should get a private audience with God Himself. This should be an interesting experiment.
We released Air Display on Android a couple of weeks ago. Here’s how it’s going so far.
First observation: Sales on Amazon’s Appstore for Android are much, much slower than on Google’s Android Market. And Android Market is in turn much, much slower than Apple’s App Store. Now, part of this may be that Air Display really shines on a tablet, a form factor on which Android hasn’t been particularly successful. (Frankly, I think this is because tablet users actually want to get things done, while phone users primarily want to make phone calls and be entertained. A glance at the top-grossing lists for iPhone and for iPad supports this.) We’re hoping some of the Ice Cream Sandwich-based tablets are more popular in the market than the current crop of Android tablets.
Second, Air Display’s user ratings are great on Android. But as expected, some Android users are absolutely appalled that we are charging $9.99 for Air Display. One user comment says, “why are you charging $10 while others charge $.99 or $1.99? don’t you think $10 is a little steep for this program? Just seems like if i wanted it i would go and find a download for it. lower the price and you might make some kind of money. you can safely charge $1.99 $2.99 or possibly $3.99 at $10 you might as well just expect little people paying for it and mostly download it elsewhere. just a tip. hope you listen :P”
Allow me to paraphrase: “Why are you people charging a reasonable price for your product, when I can get a stolen copy from a thief for nothing? If I want it and your price doesn’t work for me, I will steal it from you. Might burgle your home too. Watch yourself.”
But in general user feedback has been very positive. Our first released version had a bug that made Air Display unusable on certain devices. It was embarrassing. But once we heard about it we scrambled to release a fix within twenty-four hours. Now we have had several user comments complimenting our tech support team. That feels pretty good!
If you’re like us, you haven’t slept since March 16 because you’ve been enraptured by your new iPad with its stunning 264-DPI Retina screen. And you may have been wondering when Air Display will support the 2048x1536 resolution.
After Apple announced the new iPad on March 9, we worked like mad to add Retina resolution to Air Display. We got done in time, but of course we couldn’t ship the Air Display update until we had tested on a real iPad. Just in case.
It worked like a charm in the iPad simulator. Unfortunately when we got our new iPads and tested performance, we realized that the 4x increase in pixel count was killing our frame rates. So our engineers rushed back to the laboratory to experiment with codec settings, image filters, color spaces, threaded decompression, and god-knows-what-else.
Finally we’ve got it working with good speed. What’s more, through all of this performance tuning and profiling, we’re delivering dramatically better frame rates on other devices as well. Especially the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, which have dual-core CPU like the new iPad.
Not only that, but this update will let you take advantage of Retina resolutions on iPhone 4 and 4S as well. And by the way, you can
So you will be able to use your new iPad as a 2048x1536 computer monitor. But that’s not all! On Mac OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, you’ll be able to turn on HiDPI mode. HiDPI is a hidden feature in Mac OS X that renders with double-resolution on a double-density screen.
Here’s what it looks like:
To turn on HiDPI, you just go to the Displays Preferences and select 1024x768 (HiDPI).
HiDPI has been shipping with Mac OS X for some time. But it isn’t enabled in the System Preferences, because until now there hasn’t been a mass-produced computer display with high enough pixel density (DPI) to do it justice. That’s where Air Display and the new iPad come in.
So, stay tuned. We need to wait through another Apple review cycle before this goes live but we think it’s going to be worth the wait.
UPDATE: Air Display 1.6 is live in the app store now. Response has been fantastic. It’s the #25 top-selling app in the iPad App Store today, ahead of Words with Friends and Angry Birds HD.
Q. Can Air Display communicate over the USB cable to my Mac or PC?
A. Yes and no.
In order for iOS apps like Air Display to access the USB bus via the 30-pin dock connector, its developer must be part of Apple’s Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad (MFi) program. As Avatron is not a hardware shop, we are not eligible for this program and therefore cannot support USB. So the answer is No.
On the other hand, Yes. A user named Aaron Nelson over at HijinksInc.com details a nifty workaround to allow Air Display to run over USB. But only on jailbroken iPads.
To set up Air Display over USB you’ll need:
• A jailbroken iPad
(WARNING: We’ll leave the jailbreaking details up to your Google skills. We’ll also mention that Avatron doesn’t advocate jail breaking your your Apple device, nor will we take any responsibility for any damage incurred by your device through attempting this)
• An app to enable USB tethering
An example is MyWi 5.0 from the Cydia App Store. USB tethering turns the iPad’s USB port into another network adapter, and assigns an additional IP address to both your iPad and your Mac.
After installing MyWi on your iPad, enable USB tethering and connect your iPad to your Mac using a USB cable. MyWi adds a status to the toolbar, and you can see that there is one client (the Mac) attached.
Back on your Mac, if you look at Settings > Network you’ll notice a new network connection called iPad USB. You’ll also see the IP address that has been allocated to the Mac. In this case it’s 192.168.20.2. As this is essentially a point-to-point network we can safely assume the IP address of the iPad is 192.168.20.1. That IP address can be used later in Air Display to “Connect to Other” if necessary.
On your Mac, momentarily disable your Wi-Fi or wired network; otherwise a bug will prevent you from connecting. Start Air Display on your iPad, and then connect to it from your Mac as you would normally. At this point you can re-enable your Wi-Fi or wired network again.
It’s as simple as that! Thanks again to Aaron for posting such a useful workaround.
(We should also point out that our Tech Support team doesn’t have jailbroken devices and can’t actually support this clever technique.)
A handful of Air Display users on Mac OS X have reported seeing a blue screen after updating the Air Display Connect software. The main screen turns blue, and the Finder never appears. To most users, the Mac appears to be unusable. This is a pretty serious problem. Fortunately, (1) it has only affected very few users, and (2) there’s an easy workaround.
The problem is simply that Mac OS X occasionally corrupts its kernel extension cache. If you boot to a blue screen, you can recover with these two steps:
- “Safe Boot” your Mac: Select > Restart, then press and hold the Shift key immediately after you hear a tone. Release when the Apple logo appears.
- Restart again.
All should now be fine and you should not see the blue screen again.
When we received our brand new Asus Nexus 7 tablet earlier this week, we opened it eagerly, bought Air Display and tested it on the new 7” Android tablet. We were happy to see that it not only ran without any problems, but it was much faster than on any other Android tablets that we’ve tested. It was screaming fast, even faster than the Retina iPad (of course, the new iPad has three times as many pixels as the Nexus 7).
So it was a little surprising when we started hearing from people on Twitter and via email who were unable to purchase Air Display for their Nexus 7. They were either not finding Air Display at all in Google Play on the device or they were seeing that it was incompatible on their computer.So that was weird. We didn’t see any problem on our end. But then a few hours later, we started seeing the same thing. We double-checked our Google Play Portal and confirmed that it said Air Display was compatible with the Asus Nexus 7.
And now today it’s just fine again.We still don’t know what was wrong, but we suspect it was sloppy cache synchronization on Google Play. But it’s all working now!
NOTE: THIS POST IS OUTDATED. OUR ACCELERATED DRIVER IS NO LONGER IN BETA. See this more recent post for details.
Air Display is now compatible with Aero and Direct X, and is GPU-accelerated by screaming performance and hardware-quality visual effects.
Version 1.6.4 of the Air Display Connect software for Windows includes an optional beta installer for the new patent-pending accelerated video driver.
OBTUSE TECHNICAL DETAILS
Let’s introduce some concepts here:
XPDM Mirror Drivers: This is the Windows XP Driver Model. The regular install of Air Display Connect for Windows implements a mirror driver. This is how most virtual-display products extend your desktop. One advantage of these is that they work on Windows XP, which still sports a large installed base in the Windows world.
WDDM Drivers: Modern Windows video drivers use the Windows Display Driver Model, which was introduced in Windows Vista. These drivers talk directly with the video hardware to use the GPU for special effects.
WDDM Filter Drivers: Some other products implement “WDDM filter drivers.” Filter drivers fools a real WDDM driver into thinking that a hardware video display is connected to a video card’s secondary video output, and then redirect the pixels to the virtual frame buffer. These drivers offer some of the benefits of real WDDM drivers—they do support Aero and Direct X—but they come with some serious limitations, which is why we didn’t go this route. For example:
- WDDM filter drivers are deprecated by Microsoft as unsafe
- They aren’t reliable on cards with only one output
- They can’t be used as a third or fourth display
- They don’t work on SLI configurations (multiple video cards on one machine)
- They don’t work in virtual environments like VMWare and Parallels
- They are not very resilient to changes in the physical video drivers, and often require emergency updates when those drivers are updated.
Virtual WDDM Drivers: The new beta Air Display Connect implements real WDDM Drivers, using patent-pending virtualization methods. None of those limitations of WDDM filter drivers apply to the Air Display Connect accelerated drivers. Since this is still in beta, it is an optional install. But so far feedback for the new drivers has been great!
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BETA
Everybody on Windows 7 or later can try the new accelerated video drivers in Air Display Connect. But please understand that this is beta software. As such, you should be sure to exercise caution. Back up before installing the beta. Back up frequently while trying it. And please send lots of feedback (good and bad) to email@example.com.
Here’s how to install the beta:
- First, make sure you’ve updated to at least Air Display Connect 1.6.4
- Select Start menu > All Programs > Air Display > Install Accelerated Beta Drivers
- Install and reboot
If you decide you don’t want to use the beta any more, you can select Start menu > All Programs > Air Display > Uninstall Accelerated Beta Drivers. If you encounter serious issues, reboot in safe mode and then uninstall.
On October 18, we launched Air Display 2 for iOS. We’ve been working on this new edition for a long time, and we’re delighted to have finished it.
Air Display 2 lets you use a number of iPads as extra monitors for your computer. You can mirror your main display onto these extra monitors or you can extend your desktop to get more screen real estate. So far, our Mac video drivers support up to four devices, while the Windows drivers support only one. But we’re working on the multiple-client support in Windows now. Watch this space! (Subscribe to our Twitter feed if you want to be notified when we get the multi-client support in the Windows drivers.)
We’ve also completely redesigned the workflow in the computer host. The old interface was a sort of generic text-based menu. The new design is interactive and much more intuitive.
Maybe the most significant change in Air Display 2 is optimization. We’ve done a lot with OpenGL rendering to speed up rendering. We’re employing the CPU and GPU in parallel to get all of the performance we can out of the mobile device’s hardware.
(Geek Alert!) We’re stunned by the performance of Apple’s new A7 processor. The A7 features 64-bit processing and OpenGL ES 3. Until now, OpenGL ES 3 has been available only on the iPhone 5s. But in two days, the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display will ship, sporting speedy new A7 processors and OpenGL ES 3. For Air Display, the primary new feature is OpenGL’s “tile-based deferred rendering.” This rendering optimization allows Air Display to render the screen much more efficiently. The result is beautifully smooth updates that let you forget that your second (or third) monitor is on a wireless iOS screen.
We decided to release Air Display 2 as a new app, rather than a free update to the existing Air Display app, for a number of reasons. A big one was that we needed to drop support for the first-generation iPad. Recent builds of Apple’s Xcode app development tool have made it very difficult to support both iOS 7 and iOS 5 in a single app. And since Apple dropped iPad 1 support in iOS 6 in September 2012, we needed to create a new app to take advantage of iOS 7’s awesomeness without forcing our engineers perform feats of intellectual contortion.
Releasing Air Display 2 as a shiny new app lets us concentrate on building for the future without having to break existing users. If you already purchased Air Display 1, it will remain available for download in the App Store, while only Air Display 2 is available for new purchases.
We hope you love Air Display 2 for iOS! If you do, please consider leaving a user review in the App Store.